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MarkW

Gliss Bliss?

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This is a beginner's question, but here goes: As a piano player just learning organ, I'm using a Voce V5 sound module and motion sound rotating speaker (real rotation, but not as good as a Leslie, of course) to try to simulate a B-3. The sound isn't bad, but I notice when I play a gliss, it doesn't come close to the same bite and growl as I've heard with real B-3s. I'm grabbing several notes and gliding quickly, just like I've seen it done countless times.

Any ideas why? I know my setup is never going to sound exactly like the real thing, but this aspect seems particularly "off" while the general tone is much closer, relatively speaking. Thanks for any ideas...

P.S. I just saw Organissimo live and, well, I'm incredibly inspired from it. Brilliant stuff that's still rattling around in my head two days later...

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Hi Mark! It was nice to meet you at the festival. We had a great time in Rochester and everyone was really kind. It's a lovely city.

Part of the "bite and growl" that you're hearing is the Leslie over-driving. Another part is the fact that a real B3 has nine contacts under each key called "bussbars" that connect to each of the nine drawbars. When the key hits each bussbars (which are arranged vertically), it makes contact with each one a split second after the previous. In other words, since they are vertical, the key will contact bussbar 1 first, then 2, then 3, etc. This all happens in a fraction of a second, but on a real B3 if you press a key slowly enough, you can actually hear it make contact with each bussbar in succession and you'll hear each drawbar being "triggered". It's cool.

Anyway, since that's a electromechanical connection there is a bit of noise every time the key makes contact with the bussbar. Organists refer to that noise as "key click". Mr. Hammond always hated that sound because it ruined the illusion of the Hammond organ being a "pipe organ", which is what it was made to do. His engineers tried a lot of tricks to mute that sound as much as possible. However, jazz guys (and others) love that sound. Some organists like Jimmy McGriff used to modify the organ to bring more of that key click out.

When you do a gliss, you're obviously playing a lot of notes in quick succession. That would add a lot of that static-y, gritty key click to the sound.

I don't know a lot about the Voce, but I'm sure it has an adjustment for the amount of key click. It's probably using a sample to re-produce the key click, like the XK3 does. Try adjusting that control a bit and see if that helps.

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Thanks so much, Jim -- I'll mess with the key click and see how that goes...

Great meeting you here at the festival. You were so generous with your time (who needs set breaks, right?!). I went home thinking of all the many things I should have asked you -- but you took care of that, too, with this forum.

After your first set I tracked down our music writer (the magazine I run is published by the daily newspaper here) and told her she had to go hear you guys. She did her live blog from your second set, so hopefully she pulled some more people into the show.

Hurry back here, would you?

Thanks again.

Hi Mark! It was nice to meet you at the festival. We had a great time in Rochester and everyone was really kind. It's a lovely city.

Part of the "bite and growl" that you're hearing is the Leslie over-driving. Another part is the fact that a real B3 has nine contacts under each key called "bussbars" that connect to each of the nine drawbars. When the key hits each bussbars (which are arranged vertically), it makes contact with each one a split second after the previous. In other words, since they are vertical, the key will contact bussbar 1 first, then 2, then 3, etc. This all happens in a fraction of a second, but on a real B3 if you press a key slowly enough, you can actually hear it make contact with each bussbar in succession and you'll hear each drawbar being "triggered". It's cool.

Anyway, since that's a electromechanical connection there is a bit of noise every time the key makes contact with the bussbar. Organists refer to that noise as "key click". Mr. Hammond always hated that sound because it ruined the illusion of the Hammond organ being a "pipe organ", which is what it was made to do. His engineers tried a lot of tricks to mute that sound as much as possible. However, jazz guys (and others) love that sound. Some organists like Jimmy McGriff used to modify the organ to bring more of that key click out.

When you do a gliss, you're obviously playing a lot of notes in quick succession. That would add a lot of that static-y, gritty key click to the sound.

I don't know a lot about the Voce, but I'm sure it has an adjustment for the amount of key click. It's probably using a sample to re-produce the key click, like the XK3 does. Try adjusting that control a bit and see if that helps.

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Mark, we'll be back on Thursday performing at the Jazzweek Summit at around 5pm. We'll hang out as much as possible in Rochester that evening, but we have to start heading back west that night. I have a festival performance with Root Doctor in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Friday night! :)

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I looked up the Jazzweek Summit -- but if I paid the $199 registration, I'd have to come with you on the road because my wife would surely kick me out. I don't suppose you know if there are any tickets the public can buy?

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Yeah, it is a convention mainly for jazz radio and press folk. I don't know if it's open to the "public" in that sense. You could always pretend to be our road manager. :)

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Good idea -- I'll try to look good and road-weary to fool them. :)

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Jim, your schedule note mentioned playing The Jazz Summit from 8 to 10, but their "official" schedule mentioned 5:30. Do you know which is right? I was thinking of try to talk my way in somehow (I know it's a long shot, but I figure I have little to lose except some dignity, which is overrated anyway).

-- Mark

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